Kasargod, July 3,2017: In Pavoor on the DK - Kasargod border a Roman Catholic Church of Latin Rite is one-of-a-kind rarity. The Holy Cross Church is the only Catholic church known, where services are conducted in Tulu language for the past 100 years.
The church located at Kasaragod Deanery comes under Mangalore Diocese. The church has about 200 families under its jurisdiction. A priest of Mangalore Diocese, said that the credit for introducing Tulu in religious service goes to the Italian Jesuit priest Rev Alexander Camissa, who came to Mangalore in 1897. He spent a year at Surathkal learning Tulu.
He continued his Tulu studies at Jeppu Seminary where he was a teacher. He came across persons belonging to a nomadic tribe of Koragas, who made a miserable living weaving baskets and doing odd jobs for a pittance near Jeppu and shifted them to Pavoor in 1912.
Later the government granted 300 acres of land where they were given plots to build houses. "He began conducting holy mass, catechism, singing, family prayers and liturgical programmes in Tulu since the people knew only that language and this continues till date,’’ said Fr William.
One Rev Aloysius Santiago, who worked as a Parish priest for six years and a religious brother for two years, said that they were not given any formal training to learn Tulu. "We interact with people and over a period, we become fluent to converse with the local population in Tulu. However, the religious and liturgical programmes are written in a language we already know, hence conducting mass becomes easy. Till we are fluent with Tulu, we conduct sermons in Kannada,’’ he said.
Rev Aloysius has learnt Tulu well. "Parishioners say that ’eer yenada yedde Tulu patheruver’ (You speak Tulu better than us),’’ said Rev Aloysius regarding the appreciation he received from people while delivering sermons. There are no language barriers to worship God it seems.